French start-ups are becoming more and more international, according to a study by the firm EY made public on Tuesday on the occasion of France Digitale Day, a large gathering of start-ups and investment funds in Paris. According to this barometer, 56% of the cumulative turnover of the 237 start-ups surveyed is now achieved abroad, compared to 54% a year earlier and 43% in 2015.
Start-ups with turnover of more than 50 million euros are international champions, with 58% of their sales abroad. But the small start-ups with sales of between 0 and 5 million euros do not differ, with 44% of turnover achieved abroad. These small start-ups are also more than a third to already have an office abroad, according to the barometer.
An overall turnover up by 26%
In general, these young shoots are showing good growth even if many have not yet found their financial balance. The overall turnover of the 237 companies in the sample increased by 26% in 2017, while the workforce increased by 18%, to 21,200 employees.
Recruitment difficulties, the first obstacle to development
The average age is 32 for all employees and 41 for the CEO. On the profitability side, only 25% of the companies surveyed declare to have a positive operating result (EBIT), the proportion rising to 50% for companies with more than 50 million euros in turnover.
Among the obstacles to their development, start-ups cite mainly the difficulty in recruiting – cited first by 29% of respondents – ahead of the difficulties in obtaining financing – cited first by 24% of the companies surveyed.
France Digitale Day brings together around 3,000 French and European entrepreneurs and 200 investors in Paris on Tuesday. The day is organized at the initiative of the federation of start-ups France Digitale.